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On-campus Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration set for Feb. 5

| Denise Olson

UW-Eau Claire will host a Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration for the campus and community at 5 p.m. Feb. 5 in Schofield Auditorium.

As the kickoff to Black History Month, the free event will engage the audience in a communal celebration of the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Warren Anderson, vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion

Dr. Warren Anderson

The program will include a keynote address by Dr. Warren Anderson, vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion, as well as a performance by the MADDDRAMA national performance troupe from Jackson State University and presentations and performances by university leaders, students, faculty and staff. The event is sponsored by UW-Eau Claire’s Division of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and Student Affairs; the Office of Multicultural Affairs; and the Black Student Alliance.

As Anderson embarks on his first full semester as vice chancellor, he looks forward to his role in leading UW-Eau Claire’s EDI efforts, bringing campus even closer to embodying the dream of Martin Luther King Jr.

“As we celebrate the contributions of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his significance to the history of this country, this event marks another step in building a foundation of equality, equity and social justice here at UW-Eau Claire,” Anderson said. “It is evident to me, through the level of excitement for this annual celebration, that the entire Blugold community is eager to help write the next chapter of social progression. I look forward to sharing my thoughts on how we can continue to live in the legacy that Dr. King envisioned for each of us.”

Demetrius Smith

Dr. Demetrius Smith

Dr. Demetrius Smith, program director for equity, diversity and inclusion, is proud to once again bring a robust and meaningful MLK celebration to campus, an effort he and other campus leaders have curated with care.

“We are excited to host our third annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration,” Smith said. “Planning this event with my colleague Michael Thomas has been very rewarding. While attending the Civil Rights Pilgrimage in March 2019, he and I were able to witness a performance by MADDRAMA and immediately knew we needed them to perform on our campus. MADDRAMA will deliver a powerful performance that will take the audience on a journey through the civil rights movement.”

MADDRAMA consists of students from Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi. According to its website, MADDDRAMA’s mission is to promote excellence in performing arts and heighten awareness of theater as a crucial art form for cultural awareness in communities.

Another highlight of the evening's program is the presentation of the Martin Luther King Jr. Social Justice Leadership Award. Each year the Division of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and Student Affairs honors one faculty or staff member who has demonstrated an exceptional ability to advocate for underserved and underrepresented groups, and who leads, organizes and engages the community in the difficult work of equity, diversity and inclusion through their voice, vision and actions.

David Shih

Dr. David Shih

This year's award will be presented to Dr. David Shih, associate professor of English. Shih was the 2018 recipient of UW-Eau Claire's Excellence in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Award, and this second honor again recognizes his tireless efforts to end racism and other forms of bias on campus and beyond.

Parking for the event will be available in “F” or “S” stalls in any university lot. See campus map for Schofield Hall and parking lot locations.

The celebration also will be livestreamed at uwec.ly/live.

Top photo caption: UW-Eau Claire student Elijah Vanderpoel performs a vocal solo at the 2019 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, with Dr. Frank Watkins, assistant professor of music, providing piano accompaniment.